After a short summer break, our Hyperlocal Voices series returns. In this issue we visit the tiny island South Atlantic island of Saint Helena. Perhaps best known for being the home of an exiled Napoleon, it is frequently described as one of the world’s most isolated islands. At just 10 x 5 miles, and with a population of 4,255 people, Simon Pipe’s St Helena Online, offered Damian Radcliffe an insight into a very different type of hyperlocal site. Continue reading →
Yessi Bello continues the Hyperlocal Voices series with an interview with JesmondLocal‘s Ian Wylie, who decided to dabble in local journalism after taking voluntary redundancy from a national newspaper. Still viewed as a “pro-bono”, ” good thing to do” Jesmond Local has now become an integral part of the Jesmond Community.
1)Who were the people behind the blog, and what where their backgrounds?
After 15 years working for The Guardian as a reporter, features writer and finally section editor, I took voluntary redundancy in 2009, and began thinking about what I would do with the next chapter of my career. I’d been involved mostly in national newspaper and magazine journalism, so local journalism was something I hadn’t dabbled in before.
The concept of “hyperlocal” fascinated me as an area for me to explore and an opportunity for me also to “give something back”. I discovered that Newcastle University lecturer David Baines had a research interest in the subject. We met to discuss and he suggested I offer some of his students the chance to launch a hyperlocal website, which we did almost exactly a year ago. Continue reading →
I’ve created a little service called ‘PodsForMobs’ which gathers links to podcasts and sends them via SMS using Twitter.
In other words if, like me, you like to listen to podcasts on your mobile phone and are frustrated by trying to find download links on podcast directories – or just want a little bit of serendipity – or have too little battery power to search, this works pretty well.
The past decade has seen more change in the craft of journalism than perhaps any other. Some of the changes have erupted into the mainstream; others have nibbled at the edges. Paul Bradshaw counts the ways…
From a lecture to a conversation
Perhaps the biggest and most widely publicised change in journalism has been the increasing involvement of – and expectation of involvement by – the readers/audience. Yes, readers had always written letters, and occasionally phoned in tips, but the last ten years have seen the relationship between publisher and reader turn into something else entirely.
You could say it started with the accessibility of email, coupled with the less passive nature of the internet in general, as readers, listeners and watchers became “users”. But the change really gained momentum with… Continue reading →
In the second part of this five-part series, I explore how adaptability has not only become a key quality for the journalist – but for the information they deal with on a daily basis too. This will form part of a forthcoming book on online journalism – comments very much invited.
The adaptable journalist
A key skill for any journalist in the new media age, whatever medium they’re working in, is adaptability. The age of the journalist who only writes text, or who only records video, or audio, is passing. Today, the newspaper and magazine, the television and the radio programme all have an accompanying website. And that website is, increasingly, filled with a whole range of media, which could include any of the following:
Microblogging/Text/email alerts (Twitter)
Community elements – forums, wikis, social networking, polls, surveys
This does not mean that the online journalist has to be an expert in all of these fields, but they should have media literacy in as many of these fields as possible: in other words, a good online journalist should be able to see a story and think:
‘That story would have real impact on video’;
or: ‘A Flash interactive could explain this better than anything else’;
or ‘This story would benefit from me linking to the original reports and some blog commentary’;
or ‘Involving the community in this story would really engage, and hopefully bring out some great leads’. Continue reading →
In week two of my Online Journalism module I introduced students to the principles of blogging. After the lecture I asked the students to brainstorm ideas for blogs on an environmental issue theme, based on what they’d just heard.
To inject some extra ideas I brought in star Birmingham blogger Pete Ashton.
The results were some of the best blog ideas I’ve heard from journalism students – and certainly more imaginative than most newspaper thinking around the blog platform.
Emma wanted to look at supermarket waste – Pete suggested getting “behind the scenes of what happens at a supermarket”; I added the possibility of a Flickr account/photoblog.
Hayley wanted to do something about energy efficiency – Pete suggested they drill down very specifically to something like a blog purely about issues around energy saving lightbulbs.
Natalie has recently learned to drive – she suggested blogging about her experiences of a ‘return to public transport’
Laura wanted to look at the topical issue of chickens and supermarkets and mentioned the fact that you could access data on declining sales – I suggested a blog monitoring sales of chicken at supermarkets; Pete suggested tapping into the online organic farming community.
Stephanie thought of a challenge-based blog following her as she tries to get an environmental story from every country in sub-Saharan Africa.
Alice was thinking of a blog following attempts to get a whole street to go eco-friendly. I suggested a group blog.
Kat wanted to follow her student house doing something similar with ‘downshifting’. Pete pointed out the dangers of blogging about other people without their knowledge/editorial approval. I advised her to broaden her mind beyond students.
Kasper wanted to pick a community, e.g. fishermen, then look at their perspectives on water pollution country-by-country. I suggested turning it round to pick one country and use the blog to post on different communities’ perspectives and experiences on/of water pollution, e.g. fishermen, people who live by rivers; shipping companies; water suppliers.
Tuuli wanted to pick a name (e.g. “Adam”) and get one person with that name from every state in America to write a post about what they do related to the environment. Pete suggested that there will be spin-offs from those, like follow-ups on what contributors are up to.
They also set up their own blogs during the lesson – more on these in future posts.